Five Named Scholar Athletes by NFCA

Quintet earns academic honor

(From left) Katelyn Downing, Kelly Lockwood, Kayla Sakamoto, Liz Mertel, Ryanna Morua 

Photo: Tracy Maple

LOUISVILLE, KY – After finishing with the most wins in four seasons, five players from the 2013 Cal Lutheran softball team were honored by the National Fast Pitch Coaches Association (NFCA) for the their efforts in the classroom. Juniors Katelyn Downing, Kelly Lockwood, Kayla Sakamoto and sophomores Liz Mertel and Ryanna Morua were selected as Scholar Athletes after compiling a GPA of 3.5 or higher during the past spring semester.

Downing, a communications major, emerged as one of the top two-way players in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) in 2013. The West Hills, Calif. native led the Regals in the circle with 41 strikeouts and 11 complete games. At the plate, Downing hit .255 and was fourth on the team with five doubles. With 70 career appearances, Downing needs just 10 more to break into the top five all-time at CLU.

In her first year at CLU, Lockwood, an exercise science major, made an immediate impact leading the Regals in virtually every offensive category. The Cuesta College transfer finished the year batting .345 with 10 doubles, three triples and five homeruns. Lockwood also had 29 RBIs which put her in the top 10 of the SCIAC.

Sakamoto, an exercise science major, has started all but one of the 113 career games she has appeared in. In 2013, Sakamoto batted .306 while notching 34 hits. One of the toughest outs in all of college softball, Sakamoto has struck out just four times in her last 249 plate appearances. Out in the field, Sakamoto is also a defensive stalwart, boasting a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage in each of the last two seasons. She was also inducted into the CLU Scholar-Athlete Society for the third consecutive year.

In her second season playing third base for the Regals, Mertel, a business administration major, started every game and batted .246 with 17 hits and seven RBIs. Defensively, the Newbury Park, Calif. product had 39 putouts to go along with 97 assists and helped turn eight double-plays. Mertel was also inducted into the CLU Scholar-Athlete Society for the second time in her career.

Finally, Morua, a double major in criminal justice and psychology, split time between second base and shortstop in 2013. At the plate, Morua improved her batting average 71 points. In the field, Morua finished second on the team with 75 assists and boasted a .941 fielding percentage. She was inducted into the CLU Scholar-Athlete Society for the first time this past spring.

Release: NFCA Academic Teams and Scholar-Athletes
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